Moroccan court sentences fourteen to jail on terror charges

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer region
Image: Darwinek.

A court in Salé sentenced fourteen members of Fath Al Andalous (Conquest of Andalusia) to jail yesterday for planning attacks against targets in Morocco. The radical group reportedly associates itself with expulsion of Muslims from the Andalusia region of Spain during the fifteenth century.

According to state agency Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the court sentenced leader Rachid Zerbani to fifteen years in prison and fined him 500,000 dirhams (€44,175), and the remaining thirteen to four to ten years for "setting up a criminal gang to plot and carry out terror acts aimed at disturbing public order through intimidation and violence, financing terrorism, manufacturing and possessing explosives, undermining the sacred values, and holding unauthorized public meetings."

The group, which according to MAP had links with similar organisations in Algeria, Mauritania, France, Spain, and countries in the Middle East, had plotted to attack tourist locations in Agadir as well as a military barracks in Laayoune, the principal city in the Western Sahara region. According to the police, the members had obtained electronics and chemicals used in bombs.

Since the 2003 Casablanca bombings, in which 45 people died, the country has broken up over sixty similar groups, with more than 2,000 tried and jailed.